It was a very un-WTA-like day for the top seeds at the French Open, where the Top 10 women came on strong, setting up some mid-tournament blockbuster matches.
No. 1 Serena Williams led the way, brutalizing Brazil’s Teliana Pereira 6-2, 6-1, setting up a meeting with No. 26 seed Kristina Mladenovic, who beat Timea Babos, 6-4, 6-3.
It’s going to be difficult,” Mladenovic said of facing the world No. 1. “Maybe I wanted to have a better draw, but then also I think it’s very positive…She’s been dominating every single match in the recent years. And it’s going to be very complicated.”
In other Top 10 action, No. 8 Timea Bacsinszky trailed Eugenie Bouchard 1-4 before producing a 6-4, 6-4 win, and No. 9 Venus Williams beat up on American teen Louisa Chirico 6-2, 6-1.
“She expected me to put a lot of variation in my game, so I had to find another game plan in order to get the upper hand,” Bacsinszky said of Bouchard. “I was down 3-0, but I was not really concerned. Not worried. Because she was not head and shoulders above me. It was just a matter of adaptation. And when I managed to change my game plan, my tactics, my game intentions, things went differently.”
Venus, perhaps competing at her last French Open, said being old in tennis terms has its advantages.
“She had the youth, I had the experience,” Williams said after beating Chirico. “I definitely stay in the moment. I’m just grateful I think with every year that passes and every moment that I play, I’m grateful for this experience and blessed. What else could I ask for, really? I’m very happy with what happens — win, lose, or draw. Of course I like to win and I prepare for wins, but it’s been beautiful to do what I love for a long time.”
The No. 9-seeded Venus will next have her hands full against French upset artist Alize Cornet.
Seeded winners outside the Top 10 were No. 12 Carla Suarez Navarro, No. 14 Ana Ivanovic, No. 15 Madison Keys, No. 18 Elina Svitolina, No. 22 Dominika Cibulkova who bageled Croat Ana Konjuh 6-0 in the third, and No. 29 Darya Kasatkina who topped Virginie Razzano in three.
“I tried to be aggressive,” said Ivanovic, who will next meet the No. 18 seed Svitolina, and is a win away from facing the world No. 1 Williams. “[It] gave me a little bit of confidence and a little bit of structure for the second set. But it was tough until the last point.”
Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva pulled the only seeded upset on the day, ousting No. 28 Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-2.
Highlights on Friday at Roland Garros include (11) Lucie Safarova vs. (21) Sam Stosur, (2) Aggie Radwanska vs. (30) Barbora Strycova, (10) Petra Kvitova vs. Shelby Rogers, and the all-Russian (13) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. (24) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
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